I love, therefore, … [the] proposition of cutting off all communication with the nation which has conducted itself so atrociously. This, you will say, may bring on war. If it does, we will meet it like men; but it may not bring on war, & then the experiment will have been a happy one.
To Tench Coxe, May 1, 1794
Patrick Lee’s Explanation
Determined leaders know the will to war might make war unnecessary.
In the last post, “Does Damaged Honor Demand War?,” Jefferson expressed his concern about European offenses toward the United States. Some American voices were already calling for war. He hoped his nation would refrain and show them other ways to resolve conflict.
One of those ways is the subject of this post. The surest way to stay out of a war was to remain clear of all contact with aggressor nations. That would involve international commerce most of all.
What if the embargo brought war, the one thing he hoped to avoid? “We will meet it like men,” he replied to his own question. But maybe the embargo would render war unnecessary! Then it would have accomplished its purpose, “a happy one.”
It was a chance well worth taking.
“City officials are a “tough crowd” and the ovation they gave you was well deserved.”
Executive Director, Missouri Municipal League
Mr. Jefferson hopes your audience won’t be a “tough crowd.” If they are, he can handle it.
Invite him to speak. Call 573-657-2739